Developer Gets Probation For Sediment Violations

March 29, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

A Bel Air developer has been placed on two years' probation for violating state sediment-control laws by allowing soil from a developmentsite to foul a stream.

Thomas J. Langford, 45, also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service for 18 counts of sediment-control violations at his Plumtree Estates development south of Bel Air.

Harford Circuit Judge William O. Carr ordered the developer Monday to pay $30,000 in fines, but suspended payment of the fines.

Langford filed for bankruptcy two years ago.

The developer faced a maximum sentence of $495,000 in fines and 18 years in prison for the violations.

Langford and his company, Phoenix Enterprises, were eachcharged in September 1991 following a year-long investigation by thestate attorney general's environmental crimes unit.

Plumtree Estates, located on Plumtree Road, consists of two sections, a 39-lot subdivision approved by the county in 1975 and a 32-lot section approvedin 1989. The development lies along Barred Owl Branch, a creek that feeds Winters Run.

"In certain points, (Barred Owl Branch) was choked with sediment," said Howard P. Nicholson, an assistant attorney general. "The aquatic life in the tributary also was adversely affected."

The county repeatedly tried to get Langford to address the erosion problem, but ended up repairing erosion on its own. The county revoked the developer's $12,000 security bond for the second section of Plumtree Estates.

Langford obtained approval from the Harford Soil Conservation District for grading at the second section of Plumtree Estates, but the work had to be done within 14 days, records say.

The developer, meanwhile, tried to get permits for the development to connect into the county's sewage system. When he couldn't get the permits, he ceased grading work at the site.

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